View Full Version : Need ur assistance...

The Grill Sergeant
09-26-2010, 09:00 PM
Gentlemen: Here's the brutal honest truth... I'm 61 yrs old and an unemployed salesman for over a year and there is an element of desperation in this missive...

Over the last 40 years, the one thing I've been able to do consistently and to the delight of neighbors, friends & family is to prepare really good smoked, BBQ & grilled food off my grill.

In an attempt to be self-sufficient, I've got a relationship with a local bar where I provide pulled pork and my home-made sauce. They serve it on Fri. Sat. Sun, & Mon. They have a commercial kitchen.

The way I prepare it is to season it with my own seasoning, smoke it, de-bone, put large chunks in a vacuum bag and freeze. On Mon. I pull out a package, thaw it in the fridge and on Friday, put it in the crock pot and re-heat it with some apple juice and deliver it on Friday afternoon with some calico beans in a second crock pot. Things aren't great, but it's a start...

They open at 3PM (it's a neighborhood bar). The pork they served on Friday is put in a cooler overnight and re-heated on Sat, Sun & Mon. So far - so good. Their customers are diggin it, but not settin the "world on fire". On Tues. I pick up what's left, freeze the meat and discard the beans.

On Friday, the next week, I've thawed the left-over meat and put it in a new batch of beans. So far, there hasn't been alot of waste.

I did my first brisket this week, using the same seasoning as on the pulled pork. I pulled it when the flat was 200 degrees but the point was only 177. I then put it in a roaster oven with some beef broth and cooked it for another hr @ 200 degrees. The meat was absolutely excellent and very savory. But, when I tried my BBQ sauce on it, it lost somthing - I don't like it!

Given what u know, how do I replicate the pulled pork with brisket? I know I've gotta change the sauce, but it is possible to do the brisket in the same (or similar) way as the pulled pork?

The next question is this: I've been reading about using the broth from one cook as the base for the sauce on the next smoke. Tell me more...

09-27-2010, 10:12 AM
I think the first thing you need to do is take a ServSafe course! Cooking at home for family is one thing but when you start charging for food you need to follow HD guidelines, get insurance and operate like a business. I don't want to rain on your parade so I'll let others chime in with their thoughts.

Lake Dogs
09-27-2010, 10:23 AM
Completely aside, thinking: Isn't entirely possible that by offering both beef and pork
BBQ one actually takes sales from the other? Meaning you've doubled your cooking
efforts (potentially) for the same $$$ sales (or very very very close).

Perhaps look to grow the business by getting other vendors to carry your Q.

I do know that I've experienced exactly what you're referencing above. We just
have multiple sauces. Same rub (except we add a lot of extra black pepper for
the brisket rub), different sauces.

09-28-2010, 07:06 AM
I think the first thing you need to do is take a ServSafe course! Cooking at home for family is one thing but when you start charging for food you need to follow HD guidelines, get insurance and operate like a business. I don't want to rain on your parade so I'll let others chime in with their thoughts.

Ding...ah...ding, ding!!!

I agree, you are taking a very serious risk with the processes you mentioned. If the business has a commercial grade kitchen, I would take the ServSafe course and ask them if you could prepare and store all items at their location. This will take the liability off of you and out it solely on them. I'm also having a hard time with the idea that they are willinig to take a chance with serving product produced the way you are? Cooking it at home doesn't bring near the concern I would have with the cooking, then freezing, thawing, heating, serving, refreezing and so on and so forth. To many opportunities for food born bacteria to grow in my opinion. The meat that's left by Sunday night should be tossed, not refrozen and later resold!!!:shock:

Just my honest opinion!!! I would seriously consider trying to cook on sight and selling to them directly by the pound and leaving the rest up to them. All you need is for one person to get sick, have it traced back to you in any way and next thing you know, the bar is shut down and you're looking for a new place to live!!!

09-28-2010, 08:08 AM
Not sure what the laws are in Nebraska, but here in New York you cannot sell to a reseller without having USDA approval for your kitchen & processing. You may want to check into that pretty quickly.

Essentially, it is legal for me - as a joint owner with DOH certified kitchen - to sell bulk to a customer but without USDA certification I cannot sell to another restaurant, bar or deli. At least here is NY, if you're hired as an employee of the bar, use their kitchen & cook on site at their location, you'd be all good.

As others have said - contact your local Department of Health. Making good friends with the DOH early will take a ton of hassle out of your future.

09-28-2010, 09:33 AM
I agree with chachahut. It's essential to get legal in these situations. Not sure about the Nebraska regs, but in Iowa the bar could get in trouble with the HD for purchasing food from an unlicensed source. With a quick Google search, I came up with this link that should provide you a good starting point. http://www.agr.state.ne.us/division/daf/food.htm

Best of luck. It's not an impossible task to jump through all the regulatory hoops, just takes some time...

09-28-2010, 10:27 AM
CarolinaQue hit it dead-on- that freeze/refreeze thing has to go. The safety issues with that set off my alarms, too- there are foodborne bugaboos that just LOVE those types of conditions, due to the meat temps repeatedly running into the "happy growing" range. On top of that, doesn't your meat degrade, texturally? I've found that cooked meats turn to mush PDQ when refrozen- gotta wonder what you've got on your hands, by the time it goes to Tuesday's final freeze. The others are right about gettin' legal ASAP, too- if you do it now, you won't be dealing with extra scrutiny later- once that red flag is UP, oftentimes you can't ever get it back down again! Best of luck to you and yours- this economy's a tough row to hoe, right now. Good on ya for looking for ways through it! Will pray for you.

09-29-2010, 09:46 AM
If you don't do anything else right now you must change your food handling process to try to limit your liability as well as provide quality food. Cooking, serving, cooling, re-heating, cooling, freezing, re-heating is a sure way for customers to end up in the hospital and sue you. Smoke the meats, wrap and cool quickly then re-heat to serve each day. Trying to cook one day and serve all week is crazy.

Seriously, you need a ServSave course. Perhaps you can borrow the text book from someone for now.

09-30-2010, 05:47 PM
Ditto all advice above. But to add one additional item. Reheating in a crock pot, chafing dish or roaster oven, is completely forbidden. Your ServSafe class will go over this and the timing and temps you have to reach for cooling and reheating foods are.

Other than that, good luck.

Smiter Q
10-01-2010, 11:55 PM
Do NOT continue the heat/use/freeze/use/refreeze cycle.. or however it goes. :shock::confused: This is just asking for trouble. :boxing::boxing: Also a "home use" crock pot for this application should be a definite "no no." I understand that being unemployed for the time you have been that corners are sometimes cut, either willingly or unconsciously. But if you are looking to ramp up business, the next bar or joint you try to gain access to may be wise to servsafe and legalities, and chase you out of their doors with crossed arms. I know I would. Get the program down correct, then it actually will become more viable. I would also start by cooking less food each week. If you run out, then you "sold out" and are ahead financially. If you have leftovers, which should be THROWN AWAY, then you are not as far ahead as selling out. Again, no more of that cycle process. :tsk:

With that said, i am glad you are trying something different for yourself. I truly hope it works out, and ... Good luck! :thumb:

10-02-2010, 05:56 AM
great advice above as I'm sure you know or you wouldn't have asked. Good luck!

Smiter Q
10-02-2010, 02:15 PM
I stand corrected on my "Throw Away" comment above. What would be really great is if you sell out every week. But if not, and if it is too much food to personally consume, you can make some sandwiches and donate to a woman's or kids shelter. They would be most appreciative, and it could be a tax benefit.

The Grill Sergeant
10-02-2010, 04:12 PM
Thanks alot guys for the info and the advice. I will be enrolling in safeserv promptly.

10-02-2010, 08:26 PM
You can probably take a course online through a local community college or other type venue. Best thing to do is to contact the local Health Department and they should be able to tell you where and when it's available in your area. Good luck in your endeavor!!!

10-03-2010, 09:17 AM
I never keep any leftovers from a catering. Too many risks.......I leave them with the customer.